BY: Ikramuddin Kamil

Iran-Afghanistan Tensions Now Rising Over Water

The longstanding Iran-Afghanistan dispute over Helmand River, drawn in 1870s, is crucial as Afghanistan's longest river.

Kamal Khan Dam opened in 2021 on lower Helmand, causing Iran's animosity due to alleged non-compliance with Helmand River Treaty.

© Lowy Institute/

Kabul built the dam to address infrastructural and agricultural issues, while Tehran opposes it, fearing water supply disruption.

© Al-Monitor/

Former President Ashraf Ghani stated that Afghanistan would stop providing free water to Iran, but shortly after, Taliban took control.

Iran's Foreign Minister warned Afghanistan about denying access to Helmand River, stressing strain on their relationship.

© Mehr News Agency  /

Article explores if Afghanistan can legally divert Helmand River and highlights key elements of the bilateral agreement.

1973 Helmand River Treaty mandates Afghanistan to provide Iran with 22 cubic meters/sec water annually, with additional goodwill supply.

Treaty ensures Iran's access to Helmand River, while Article V grants Afghanistan full rights to remaining water supply.

© Iran/